You may or may not know that I was waffling pretty hard on whether to continue authoring. (Not writing, mind you, but definitely publishing.) As my job. As my priority. As my life.
I'd been dealing with some pretty difficult things, in addition--burn out, and also hurting my back so badly I am still not 100% recovered more than two years later (slow but steady progress!) I was watching books I loved with all my heart sink upon release, and my earnings fall off. I mean, the truth is, I'm not great at self-publishing. I can write a good book and I can put it out, sometimes even with a kick-butt cover, but marketing and publicity and selling myself, that's definitely a place where I fall short. And I couldn't justify losing money at publishing.
As long as I was in the black, that was one thing, but that margin of black was getting pretty narrow. (It's looking non-existent this year. Which is why, in part, I've gone ahead and finally launched a Patreon!)
What does this have to do with Orc 3?
I mentioned before that I had legitimate reasons for the hold up on this book, that maybe they were their own blogpost for another time. Well, this is it:
Orc 3 was going to be my last book.
It was my final obligation to my readers. The last thing on my must list. I didn't want to leave people hanging. But BECAUSE it was going to be my last book, I wanted to write it even less. I didn't want to say goodbye to this career I'd built, this life I was living. I LOVE writing. I NEED writing for my own mental health (publishing maybe was becoming more of a detriment there but.) Of course I didn't WANT to quit. But without the sales, no traditional publishing contracts on the horizon, and finding myself back in the query trenches, as well, how could I keep supporting it? Supporting myself?
My husband is amazing. But he was basically killing himself slowly at his job, supporting us both. My modest earlier successes had given us some breathing room, but that was gone, now, too. And Orc3 not being done became something of an excuse. I couldn't quit yet, because it wasn't finished!
I started loading all the half-done projects I loved in front of it, because I didn't want to lose them too. I didn't want to say goodbye. And I didn't have to, as long as Orc3 wasn't written. As long as Orc3 wasn't finished, neither was I.
I wrote a contemporary romance (half-hoping if I could only sell THAT maybe it would buy me the time I needed, a few more years of cushion--it hasn't yet), and then another because writing the first had been such an act of love and joy and reminded me how much writing meant to me, how much I loved it--it went a long way toward healing what I'd hurt in my burnout--and half of a third for the same reasons. I put out that Fate of the Gods novella collection I'd always wanted to do, filled to the gills with bonus content I hoped would entice you. I finished writing a fantasy romance (FROM ASGARD, WITH LOVE) and published it for me, for you. Everything that I had that I could leverage, I tried to move.
It wasn't enough. None of it moved the needle, and if anything, I was in a worse place than where I'd started. But I came to a realization, too:
I couldn't give up.
Writing the books that I write, sharing my experiences and my perspective through fiction, sharing my faith with the people looking for anything approximating representations of their own and making stories like mine AVAILABLE to the people searching desperately for them--that is my calling. It's what I'm Meant To Do. Somewhere along the way, in publishing, I lost sight of that, forgot that feeling, the rightness of it all in my soul.
And then came this new job, for El Husband, and the move. My world has been a little bit upside down since probably September with everything that comes with uprooting one's life to start something new--where happily, El Husband won't be killing himself to keep us afloat. All things considered, that definitely had to come first, or I would definitely have no choice but to quit to support HIM.
So why is Orc 3 taking me so long? Well, in addition to all of that up above, now I have to deprogram the dread that I feel when I open up that document to start working, the association with Orc3 and giving up on my dreams, my vocation, my calling. This is why, when people ask me about it, I say: I want it done and finished probably more than you do. It's become a huge albatross hanging over my head, squawking my doom.
You can imagine, I think, how that would make someone drag their feet on a project.
And the problem of not being in the black, author-wise, isn't going to go away, either. Much as I had hoped otherwise, simply realizing this is what I am Meant To Do isn't magic enough to fix that. I'm not sure yet what will. Maybe Patreon will be a start in the right direction, maybe being open with you all about where things are for me will start some wheels turning where they had previously ground themselves to a halt. (Or make things worse, it's always kind of a toss-up.)
Thor says to me on repeat: Ask for what you need. The first step is admitting that I need anything from anyone at all (not easy for me--even when my late uncle just gave me the world's most depressing lesson on letting pride get in the way of living our best lives.) But being a writer, a successful author who can afford to keep writing books, that's not something you can do in a vacuum. I need readers to do what I do--I need all of you and your support.
So here's what I'm going to ask of you:
- If you can, and it's your jam, become a patron!
- If you love my writing, or have a favorite book, but no spare change for Patreon (I feel you), please tell your friends about whatever title it is you loved!
- Don't forget, FORGED BY FATE is perma-free! You could get someone hooked for no cost at all but their time!
- Tell your friends AGAIN about your favorite book--because I know for myself, I never ever remember a book title/author the first time someone recs it to me. If I don't hear it again, I'll forget. But word of mouth is still the best way to sell books!
- If you love my writing, have a spare couple of bucks for impulse purchasing, and haven't read my latest release, FROM ASGARD, WITH LOVE--grab it now!
- If you're desperate for Orc3, don't forget that THE QUEEN AND HER BROOK HORSE is available to you to fill the gap if you haven't read it already. I called it a novella but it's over 40,000 words so really--it's a book. I haven't left you COMPLETELY high and dry, all this time, I swear!
There are other ways you can help, like writing and posting reviews, and I'd be thrilled by any of that, too--every review is a rare gift! I wish I didn't need authoring to be my business as well as my calling, but unfortunately, I'm not there. I promise I'll keep working on my end to keep this going, that Orc3 WON'T be my last book after all, and I just need you to know:
I'm so grateful for all your patience and support. Thank you for wanting to read my books.
Amazon | Barnes&Noble
Amazon | Barnes&Noble